Black Ship Books is seeking comic creators and aspiring comic creators of all stripes to join us for a special competition this month.

Horror Haikus will bring together winning writers and artists to collaborate on a set of one-page black-and-white horror stories. In keeping with the Japanese haiku form, each story will contain seventeen lettering elements—any combination of word balloons and captions (creator credits don’t count)—mirroring the number of syllables in a haiku. Those in search of inspiration can consult our initial volume of Horror Haikus, published in 2011—from the collection, “Sins of the Father,” “Sterile Procedures,” and “Scissor Lad’s Final Cut” are available free online.

The event will take place across the month of October, in a number of stages.

Stage One begins today and lasts until October 8. During this stage, writers will write their scripts and submit them to Black Ship for consideration. Artists should assemble their portfolios, and should submit them to us as well.

Based on the submissions we receive, Black Ship editors will select a number of scripts for publication and, with creator input, will assign them to an artist. The number of accepted stories will depend on the quantity and quality of both script and art submissions.

Pre-existing writer-artist pairs are welcome to submit. They should submit their materials like other creators, but should indicate their preferred pairing in their submission email.

Submission emails (scripts for writers, links to online portfolios for artists) should be submitted to evan@blackshipbooks.com no later than 11:59pm October 8.

Stage Two will begin on Monday, October 10. By this time, writers with accepted stories will have been notified of the decision, and artists will have been assigned.

The bulk of the work of Stage Two will fall to the artist. From October 10 to October 30, artists should work to complete the story they have been assigned, and arrangements for lettering should be made—while we prefer you letter your own story, or work with a letterer you already know, we can provide letters if needed. If you will be providing letters yourself, we ask that you include lettering samples with your art portfolio, or as soon as you have made arrangements with an outside letterer.

Finished stories should be submitted to us by 11:59pm October 30, and will go live at the site throughout the day on Halloween.

Stage Three will be undertaken entirely by Black Ship Books, depending on the level of interest in Horror Haikus, and will comprise the print and digital publication of completed stories as Horror Haikus #2, a sequel to our 2011 publication of the same name.

Update 10/03/16: To clarify, this is an unpaid opportunity. Black Ship Books retains first-run publication rights and the option to include submitted stories in the collected anthology. All other rights are retained by the comics’ creators.

About Evan Henry (257 Articles)
Evan Henry is a graduate student in English at the University of Virginia, where he works on the legacy of eugenics and scientific racism in American pop culture. As Head of Publishing for Black Ship Books he seeks to further social analysis of popular culture and develop new and unique voices in both creative and critical writing. His credits include Broken Frontier, the Virginia Literary Review, and numerous small publishers of fantasy and science fiction. His short story collection The Great City will be released this summer.
Contact: Twitter

9 Comments on Horror Haikus: CALLING ALL CREATORS

  1. What about payment, if any, and rights?

    • Hi, Mike. Thanks for asking. We’ve updated the release to include the following information:

      This is an unpaid opportunity. Black Ship Books retains first-run publication rights and the option to include submitted stories in the collected anthology. All other rights are retained by the comics’ creators.

  2. Hello, I’ve got a question too: I know you said 17 elements between captions and balloons, I was wondering if sound effects could be counted as part of those elements. Could a story with 17 sounds effects be considered?

  3. If it does go to print, will the creators receive copies?

  4. do you have a file format preference for scripts? Word? PDF?

    • DOC or DOCX is more edit-friendly (and we do intend to give scripts a light spit-polish, in the event they are accepted). Thanks for asking!

  5. Thanks for the reply!

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